Monday, June 29, 2015

Love May Fail

Love May Fail by Matthew Quick
HarperCollins: 6/16/2015
Review copy, 416 pages
hardcover ISBN-13: 9780062285560

"Love may fail, but courtesy will prevail." Kurt Vonnegut

My Thoughts:

Love May Fail by Matthew Quick is a very highly recommended novel about redemption, relationships, and interconnected lives. It's also, in part, about goodness, broken people, adultery, unconventional families, English teachers, religion, 80's metal bands, fate, coincidence, hoarders, drinking, paper airplanes, and closure. I loved it.

After witnessing her wealthy pornographer and serial-cheating husband Ron's latest affair with a teenager, instead of shooting them, Portia Kane jumps on a plane, drunk, headed for South Jersey and her hoarder mother's house. On the plane Portia sits next to and profanely over-shares her woes with an elderly plucky nun before passing out. Sister Maeve wisely leaves Portia her contact information. Once in NJ, Portia is back at her mom's house, trying to avoid the piles of stuff, and drinking the diet Coke with Lime her mom has obsessively purchased just in case Portia ever visits.

While trying to get her mom out of the house, they go to a diner where Portia meets an old high school friend, which leads to meeting her little boy, Tommy, and her brother, Chuck Bass, who secretly always had a crush on Portia. (All of them love 80's metal bands, especially Motley Crue.) When Portia tells them she wants to find their old English Teacher, Mr. Vernon, and tell him how much he meant to her, she learns that he gave up teaching and left town after a student attacked him. She plans to help/rescue Mr. Vernon because he believed in her. Although it may appear I've retold the whole plot, this is only a taste of Love May Fail.  There is so much more.

All the characters embody the Albert Camus quote Quick includes: "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."

I thought Love May Fail was a delight to read. Yes, sometimes it is sad and heartbreaking, but it is also quirky and funny. These are all very real characters, broken in some ways, trying to redeem themselves. They all have lots of faults and are trying to do what they think they are supposed to do in order to become the person they are supposed to be. They are also all strangely interconnected, be it a master plan or fate, and need each other in some capacity. The novel unfolds through three characters and the letters of a fourth. Portia, Mr. Vernon, and Chuck all take up the narrative and tell us what is going on, while Sister Maeve has one short section comprised of letters she has written.

Love May Fail is most assuredly very well written. Quick does a superb job with dialogue and the plot moves along quickly. I can concede that
some readers may struggle with Portia's swearing and rants, especially at the beginning, but give the woman a chance. Think about how you would feel in her situation. And, again, all of these characters have faults, just like real people, and they are trying to do the best they can. I just love it when a novel comes together perfectly and hits all the right marks for me!

Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher and TLC for review purposes. 

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been meaning to read one of Quick's books for a long time now. He has a great reputation for creating realistic and appealing characters!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.